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Google Trends Takes Baby-Step Towards Being Useful



When Google first launched Google Trends–a tool for view the popularity of search terms–it was greeted as a fun gimmick, but hardly a serious research tool.

Yesterday, Google Trends took a baby-step towards being something of value.

Here’s what was added:

  1. You now get a relative scale for each trend. You still don’t get the number of searches per day, but you at least get a scale to measure different keywords against.
  2. You can now export the data to a CSV file.

Google’s Heej Hwang explains the scales in more detail:

You’ll notice a number at the top of the graph as well as on the y-axis of the graph itself. These numbers don’t refer to exact search-volume figures. Instead, in the same way that a map might “scale” to a certain size, Google Trends scales the first term you’ve entered so that its average search volume is 1.00 in the chosen time period. So in the example above, 1.00 is the average search volume of vanilla ice cream from 2004 to present. We can then see a spike in mid-2006 which crosses the 3.00 line, indicating that search traffic is approximately 3 times the average for all years.

Here’s an example:

Anyone care to guess why Google would introduce these new features? Of course, it does help us with our keyword research–and we all know Google would love for us to identify hot-trend keywords, then bid on them at AdWords–but is there another goal here?

Maybe it wants to compete with KeywordDiscovery, or perhaps event Compete.com. Any other ideas?

  • http://seologia.com.ar Seologia

    Alas we can compare it to a number instead of the typical “other important search phrase constant”. :D

    Seologia’s last blog post..Decile NO a la mediocridad

  • http://www.futurefactory-software.com Warenwirtschaft

    If google wants to help us with our keyword research, why dont they publish absolute numbers? That would make things much easier. Or scaled to some overall-google-rank that makes comparing easier.
    Always scaling to the average of the first term is no big help.

  • http://www.jaankanellis.com Jaan Kanellis

    Well these relative numbers are as useful as the numbers you get from Wordtracker, not very.

    At least it gives you scale idea of how big of jump in popularity a keyword takes over time.

    Jaan Kanellis’s last blog post..Best Looking SEO Poll Results

  • http://symbiancorner.blogspot.com Symbian

    At least now we can run data processing with google statistics.

    Symbian’s last blog post..Nokia S60 Symbian Windows Live client available in Europe

  • http://www.netage.co.za Goran Web Design

    I agree Warenwirtschaft, if you want us to advertise and spend more then give us the “numbers”

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    Google would give up too much information about its index, if it were to provide exact numbers–however useful.

  • http://mp3leben.com Tiffany

    Whatever is the motivation, I think this new feature is good as for me working with curve and graphic is more easy.

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  • http://www.netage.co.za Goran Web Design

    I have been making use of it since I originally read your post and its definitely improved since the last time I used it. Thanks Andy.

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